Religious rituals help bring out the spiritual in me.
[Turning the mind to the welfare of others]
If I don’t transform into a less selfish and more loving person through religious rituals, then I’ve wasted my life. If rituals have not produced a better me, a more accepting and a more selfless me, then I’ve not learned at all. If I have not gained confidence in the Love that I really am, then I lose out.
[Turning the mind to the heart]
A physiotherapist brings back a broken limb into full function with exercises. Religious rituals are the mental therapy exercises for my broken mind. They are designed to turn my mind away from the pride and anxiety of possessiveness to an attitude of sacrificing all to the soul within.
Let me illustrate with a short story.
I needed a means of livelihood. So I sought a job from a wealthy, influential person. But, instead of a job, he offered me a business partnership. He said he had vast tracks of land and was willing to give me a piece of it. I could grow grains and other produce in it, sell them and make my living. He assured that he’ll give me a shop to sell the produce from, help with sales and marketing and also invest money to start my business. In return he wanted a share in the business. I thought he would ask 90 – 95% share since he brought everything “to the table”. But he said he had sumptuous wealth and had no need for any more. Ten percent of the business is enough, he said. That too, not because he needed it but he would accept it as a token of my gratitude. I was wonderstruck and cut the deal with the stroke of this fortune.
My business picked up very nicely. As time rolled by, I made progressively more and more money. I expanded my shop. My clientele grew. And so did my bank balance. I bought a big house, luxury cars and even a pair of diamond necklaces for my wife. I put my children in prestigious private schools. Through all this, once in awhile, I thought of this unique person who helped and invested in me, and without whom I could not have achieved all this. I put away his share of ten percent regularly to give to him when I saw him again. Then as I became wealthier and wealthier, one day a thought occurred to me. “I’m doing all the hard work and growing my business. This partner of mine is nowhere to be seen. Why should I give him the ten percent?”
I stopped putting his share aside. At that moment, the wealthy person came and asked for his share. I told him he hasn’t done anything and all the wealth I’ve earned was only due to my work. “Why should I give you ten percent?” I asked him.
Tell me, if you were this person who invested in me and my business, what would you do?
You see, the Divine Entity is this wealthy and influential person in my life. He has given me everything I have, and have not. He has invested in me through and through. But for His Grace, I’ll not have the power to see, hear, taste, smell or touch this world. I’ll not have the life force and the strength of hope to live. I’ll not be able to think and imagine, speak and sing. I’ll not have the riches I have, the house, family and friends. I’ll not have the inclination to serve. The continuous cosmic dance that is taking place within me is His Grace only. My organs keep step with the beat of my heart – so I can breathe, eat, swallow, digest and excrete, so 50000 neurons can fire in my brain at any given moment and electrons can safely travel at 200 mph speed within my body to keep me alive, so 5.6 liters blood can travel 12000 miles every day within my body hiding a miracle in plain view, so I can travel to the edge of the universe and return instantly with my mind. And the list of his investment in me goes on and on endlessly.
[My amazing endowments]
Should I not express my gratitude to this endless endowment I have?
Daily worship in the puja (prayer) room is the time I dedicate to this divine investor in me to express my gratitude.
My sense is India is the only country in the world, where every household has a puja room. The puja room takes various shapes and forms. It can range from a separate spacious room in a wealthy mansion to a picture of a form of divinity nailed to a wall in a thatched hut. Whatever shape, size and form it takes place, the puja room in my home asserts that Bhagavan is an inseparable member of my family.
[Daily homely time with divinity]
Everyone in India spends some time daily in the puja room. This daily worship can range from a fleeting moment to an hour or two. It is a ritual, once undertaken, hooks you for life.